I’m pretty sure that I say this every semester, but I can’t wait to start my classes next semester. I know that I have been moving in the right direction with every change I’ve made to my major and registering for classes each semester has felt more ‘right’ than the previous semester did. After registering for next semesters’ classes yesterday, I am confident that I am on the path God intends for me.
When I began college, I came in as a declared Business Major, looking to double major with dance so that I could open up a dance studio one day and teach. My goal was to be able to inspire young children and teenagers alike to follow their passion and never give up, because that is what the brilliant Nikki Fox did for me at Red Mountain. I had found myself through dance and my dancing was my outlet for years. Without the education I received from Fox, I wouldn’t have met most of the wonderful people who have become some of my best friends that helped me through everything that happened my senior year at Red Mountain. I wanted to be able to be that teacher, that inspiration, to others like myself, and everyone else that I know was greatly affected by Fox during her time at Red Mountain.
Halfway through my first semester at CSU, I found out that my knee, which I had been having problems with since my freshman year of high school, was in worse shape than we thought. I had to stop running, and begin physical therapy to help heal some severely bruised soft tissue around my knee cap from a fall that could have easily caused my kneecap to fracture. My doctor was actually surprised it hadn’t fractured with the amount of swelling around my knee. I was unable to run my first race, which would have been the Homecoming 5K as well. During this time, I came to realize that if I am going to have to be extremely careful even running for the rest of my life so that I don’t put too much pressure on my knee, there was no way that I could get into CSU’s dance program. I began thinking about things that had meant the most to me during high school. The only other thing I could think of was Mind’s Eye of Red Mountain. So, I decided to push to go into editing and changed my major to English with concentrations in Writing and Creative Writing.
I stuck on the path I chose for my second semester at CSU and then, shortly after beginning my third semester, dropped both concentrations for Literature, still hoping to follow the same editing path. Nothing really changed, I knew I was still working in the right direction, but it didn’t feel 100% ‘right’ yet. Then I got to thinking–a dangerous past time. One of the things I hear nearly every time that I tell someone I’m an English Major is the inevitable “So, you want to teach?”. I always told them “no, I’m not good with kids,” but I love kids and I love babysitting. I kept thinking, I originally was planning on going into teaching someday, so why can’t I? One of my classmates who, like me, has Learning Disabilities is going to school to learn to teach because he can be that teacher that understands what it is like to be sitting in the back of the classroom, stuck, going “I don’t get it.” This is something that has stuck with me all semester because I was that kid and I have had more than one teacher that didn’t understand why I was stuck. I even had a teacher call my mom and I liars when we told her about my ADHD because I wasn’t enrolled in the Special Education program at Red Mountain.
Yesterday morning, I registered for the first of the series of English Education courses that I will be taking until I graduate in the Fall of 2017. Yes, I will be taking an extra semester of classes. But what is an extra semester, for a lifetime of being the teacher that understands the kid who just doesn’t get it or the teacher that inspires and motivates their students to be the best they possibly can be? I know that this is the right path for me for many reasons, but there is also one major one. I was still having some doubts about going into teaching due to the fact that, as many of you may know, I am not good speaking in front of groups of people. Even three weeks ago when I helped give a group presentation in my British Literature class, I was unable to speak loud enough or clear enough, and I kept forgetting what I was supposed to say even though I had my notes with me. It was a disaster. Yesterday afternoon, after signing up for my teaching classes, I asked God to give me sign that this was the right path for me. I got called on, at random, to present the poem I had memorized for my Poetry class. I wasn’t even completely sure I had the poem completely memorized. I walked up to the front of the class, and calmly waited for everyone to quiet down so I could begin. For the first time in my life, I was standing in front of a group people without shaking. I recited my poem, word for word, clearly, without stuttering or mumbling. This has never happened before in my life, and I believe it is the sign I asked for. I am finally on the path that I am supposed to be on, and I could not be happier.
Although I had some not so great teachers in high school, I also had some great role models that will serve as my inspiration as I push forward on this new path. I’m looking at you, Nikki Fox, Shasta Blisard, Mrs. Baack, and many others who helped guide my education. I will never forget any of you and I can only hope that I will be as great of a teacher as you all are one day.